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College Football Playoff 12-team expansion proposal moves forward to board of managers meeting next week

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The second step toward the new era of the College Football Playoff took place on Friday when the CFP Management Committee announced that it has reviewed the proposed format of the 12-team playoff as recommended by the working group last week. The new format would expand the postseason from the current four-team version which went into effect following the 2014 season. The next step in the process will come on June 22 in Dallas when members of the management committee will meet with the Board of Managers.

The new format would include the top six conference champions in the CFP Rankings regardless of conference affiliation. The final six teams will be the next six teams in the rankings no matter their conference affiliation. The top four conference champions would receive a first-round bye, with teams ranked Nos. 5-8 hosting the last four teams in the first round. The winners of the first round would then advance to play the top-ranked teams in the playoff without being re-seeded. The quarterfinals, semifinals and College Football Playoff National Championship would be played at neutral sites that are yet to be announced. 

“The management committee praised the working group for its proposal,” said CFP executive director Bill Hancock. “The process will move forward, and the proposal will be discussed next week by the board of managers.”

The current four-team format has five years left on its contract. The committee did not specify the specific year that the new format would go into effect, but the current model will be kept intact at least for the next two years in order to finish the third cycle of national semifinals. 

The new format would use the same selection process as the current four-team model — a 13-member selection committee comprised of athletic directors, former coaches and other prominent industry names which creates a set of top 25 rankings weekly over the latter half of the season. The four playoff teams are announced the day after conference championships are played. Four different programs have won the CFP since its inception — Ohio State (2014), Alabama (2015, 2017, 2020), Clemson (2016, 2018) and LSU (2019).

“This is a very exciting time for college football,” Hancock added. “The working group’s proposal includes many details that must be carefully reviewed and discussed. We look forward to that review.”

The final step in the process will be discussions with athletic directors, presidents, players and coaches to determine more specific details. Those discussions will lead to a complete format that will be voted on in September. 

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